Bowling is a great form of exercise for many people. It can certainly be counted as exercise, as it requires physical effort and can provide you with several health and fitness benefits. Walking towards your lane, lifting a heavy bowling ball; these all contribute towards bowling being a legitimate form of exercise.
While it may not be the most strenuous form of exercise, if you are moving your body then there are definitely health benefits to be gained. There are many components that make up fitness; balance, coordination, muscular strength, aerobic endurance, and flexibility to name just a few. Bowling primarily utilizes balance, coordination, and muscular strength.
The sport of bowling is a great exercise option for certain people groups that may not be able to participate in other, more vigorous types of physical activity. In particular, it can be a great choice for the more elderly population. Pregnant women may also find bowling to be a suitable exercise activity.
Does Bowling Count as Cardio?
The sport of bowling is not technically considered to be a form of cardio exercise. Aerobic endurance, also referred to as ‘cardio,’ is all about utilizing your heart and lungs.
When bowling, your heart rate is not going to increase significantly, so it is not going to improve your cardiovascular system. However, it still offers a low impact way of being active.
What Does Bowling Do for Your Body?
Often the first thing people think about when contemplating exercise is how many calories they are going to burn. One hour of bowling can burn approximately 250 – 300 calories. This is about the equivalent of a semi-brisk walk. Factors such as your body weight and the size of the ball will alter this number slightly.
Bowling is Low Impact
As mentioned previously, bowling is a low impact form of exercise. So, barring dropping a heavy ball on your foot, bowling will not be hard on your body.
A person who is participating in multiple sessions per week may experience an injury though through the repetitious actions of swinging their arm back and forth.
Bowling Improves Coordination
Hand-eye coordination, while more of a skill based rather than a health-based fitness component, is still an important aspect of your overall health. Bowling is a great way to develop and maintain this coordination.
Synchronizing your approach with the perfect arm action is no easy feat, and also requires sharp focus and mental alertness.
Can Bowling Build Muscle or Help with Weight Loss?
You are not going to build a considerable amount of muscle mass if you participate in bowling. However, you can expect to maintain and possibly improve muscle tone and strength. Particularly in your arms if you bowl regularly. Most of the major muscle groups are used when bowling, so in some ways it is a good whole-body workout.
Due to the relatively low number of calories burned, bowling would probably not be your first choice of exercise if losing weight is your primary goal. However, if undertaken 5 times a week (or incorporated alongside other activities) it may assist you in maintaining a healthy weight range. You could even wear a pedometer to assist in measuring your fitness goals.
How Can I Make Bowling a More Strenuous Activity?
Bowling with just one other person, as opposed to a larger team, will obviously increase the amount of time that you are active and moving around. Try to decrease the amount of time you spend sitting down.
Choosing a heavier ball (but not one that is going to cause overdue strain) will require greater effort from your arm muscles as well.
What Other Health Benefits Does Bowling Provide?
Up until now, all discussions have referred to physical health. However, bowling also has a lot to offer in the way of emotional and social health benefits. Bowling is generally undertaken as a team sport, and due to its nature, offers many opportunities for social interaction. The competitive aspect also adds extra enjoyment for many people.
While bowling is not going to give you with the required intensity needed to release exercise induced endorphins, it can still contribute positively to self-esteem.
Such activities can improve your overall mental health and well-being. And don’t forget, those endorphins can also be released through a good bout of laughter, which bowling is sure to provide you with.
It is most likely that those who choose to include bowling in their exercise program will not be doing so in order to see vast improvements in their physical health. However, it can definitely play a role in maintaining your health-related fitness. For those who may not have exercised in a long while, bowling could be the perfect way to re-introduce exercise into their lifestyle.
Bowling offers a very inclusive form of exercise as it can be enjoyed by almost anyone. It’s a great chance for young and old alike to share in exercise side by side. If you are carrying an injury that prevents you from participating in more vigorous activities, you may still be able to enjoy a leisurely bowling game.
Finally, if someone wants to try and argue that bowling is not a legitimate form of exercise, you can refute them with one of the points above. Whether you want to include bowling as part of your exercise program, or just want to enjoy it as a social activity, bowling is certainly an activity that everyone should try at least once.